Reimagining Market Place:
Bringing Prescot's historic commercial heart back to life

Open Design Competition



Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, via its Heritage Lottery Fund supported Prescot Townscape Initiative, is seeking design concepts from architect–led teams worldwide to redesign the currently unused public open space at Prescot Market Place in Knowsley, Merseyside. It is hoped that the winning design will create a vibrant special space in the town centre which will complement other amazing developments in the town including the new Shakespeare North Playhouse and a planned cinema making Prescot an even more attractive place for its visitors, residents and businesses.


Overall Aim

An ambitious five year plan — Prescot Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) — is investing in, conserving and celebrating the town's historic buildings, spaces and past. Knowsley Council, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and partners, is leading the heritage-led regeneration of the town centre.

Given the scale of the investment and the environmental focus of its funding, the redesign of Market Place is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to turn an unused corner of the town centre into an asset.

As the single largest project of the entire THI the success of the redesign of Market Place will have a significant bearing on people's perceptions of the success of the wider scheme. It is therefore vital that Market Place plays a significant role in the wider regeneration of the town centre.


History of Prescot
and its Market Place

Prescot is one of Merseyside's most historic market towns and is perfectly positioned between the bigger cities of Liverpool and Manchester. The town has a rich and varied history and its industrial past includes coal mining, pottery and watch making and it is home to many historic buildings with quality architectural features. The town was also the home of the first purpose built Elizabethan theatre outside of London and has historical associations as diverse as the Earls of Derby, King's College Cambridge, Edward Lear and even the Bard – William Shakespeare. A further document on the history of Prescot with particular reference to Market Place can be viewed from the downloads page. Historic maps of the site and historic photos of the site will be made available post registration.

The heritage values of the site's context should also be a key consideration in the redesign. The site is in a prominent location within the Prescot Town Centre Conservation Area and is within the setting of the Grade I Listed Prescot Parish Church (fabric dating from the 14th century onwards), and the Grade II Listed Prescot War Memorial (1916) which was one of the first such permanent memorials in the country.



The Vision

The Council's vision for the Market Place is:

  • A space that is well-used by the public, all year round, night and day
  • A space that local people, businesses and organisations can feel ownership of and take pride in
  • A space that supports and integrates with wider social and economic activity in the town centre
  • A space that is attractive, user friendly and respects the locally distinctive character of Prescot Town Centre Conservation Area
  • A landmark space that is an important node in the town's green infrastructure
  • A space whose design and specification is within budget and meets the eligibility criteria of the Prescot Townscape Heritage Initiative as set by the Heritage Lottery Fund
  • A design and use(s) of the site that can be supported in planning terms
  • A space that can practically be managed and maintained into the future



Competition Contact

The competition is being managed and administered by RIBA Competitions on behalf of Knowsley MBC. All enquiries relating to the competition should be directed to:

  0113 203 1490